Extending the Holiday Spirit

Enriching the Lives of Our Animals

January 10, 2019

One of our favorite times of year is after Christmas and shortly after New Year’s Day when gently used live Christmas Trees begin to arrive. Pine trees carry a strong scent that might trigger nostalgia in humans, but for big cats, it means a special form of enrichment only experienced during a short time of the year. Our big cats love this fun form of enrichment, and it helps keep the trees out of landfills, helping the environment.

Luckily, each year we have a steady supply of trees from local supporters and the Crescent Hotel. During the month of December, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs hosts a “Crescent Christmas Forest” where nonprofits from the area decorate trees and people vote for their favorite with donations, which the nonprofit receives. At the end of the event, the trees are then donated to Turpentine Creek so that our big cats can enjoy some extra enrichment.

Throughout the week, our animals will be getting Christmas trees as part of their daily enrichment program. Some of the animals, like Daniel and Fergy (pictured above) love to rub and scent their Christmas tree enrichment, others will tear them to itty bitty pieces, and a few will ignore them in favor of their permeant enrichment (boomer balls). It is always interesting to watch the reactions of our animals to the various types of enrichment that we provide them.

Seasonal enrichment is a great way to encourage our animals to utilize their natural instincts. Scent enrichment is vital to keeping our animals lives fun and stimulating. We are very appreciative to everyone who donates Christmas trees, scent enrichment, boomer balls, and other various types of enrichment throughout the year. Donate today so that we can continue to provide quality care for the animals that call the Refuge home.